For most of 2016, I was hard at work on my first adult coloring book, ‘52 (more) Flower Mandalas’. I met my collaborator, David Bookbinder, through a friend, who knew he was looking for an artist to illustrate his second coloring book project and suggested me. This is not typically the kind of work I do, but when the opportunity presented itself, I thought, ‘why not?’. Through discussions with David and a lot trial and error, I eventually hit on a process for creating the line drawings that are based on David’s gorgeous photos.
But the more interesting story is David’s own, and how he came to make the flower mandala photographs. After a near-death experience, he found himself re-evaluating his life’s path and purpose. In David’s words,
I've taken a somewhat circuitous path to what I do now. In childhood, I was a kid scientist, proud that my birthday and Albert Einstein's coincided, and I spent my first year of college as a freshman engineer. But by the time I graduated I was an English major with a keen interest in psychology and a desire to make my living as a writer. That ambition turned out to be more daunting than I had imagined, and after a construction accident made it impossible for me to continue doing the carpentry work that had sustained my writing and photography habit, I turned to computers and technical writing.
A decade later, I was back in school, working on an English PhD. Partway through that program, a series of medical errors nearly took my life. What happened in a hospital there, which included a near-death experience, divided my life into two parts: who I had been and who I was becoming. To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, it’s been a long, strange trip since then.
My recovery path eventually shifted me away from teaching and ultimately back to school, this time in psychotherapy. Indirectly, it also led to my creating the Flower Mandala images that are the basis of my book Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas and that were the inspiration for the coloring book Mary O'Malley illustrated, 52 (more) Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief.
David’s fascinating digitally manipulated images of flowers can be seen here. As someone who spent the better part of a year studying and closely examining these photographs, I can tell you that the more you look, the more engrossing the images become. David’s book, Paths to Wholeness, showcases the flower mandala photos along with his writing. There are also two coloring books available. You can follow along with David and the flower mandalas on Facebook and Instagram.